Varieties For Alberta
All registered field pea varieties, upon submission are entered into the Alberta Regional Variety Test Program. These trials are run annually across the province and yield and agronomic data are collected. This data is then made publically available through the Alberta Pulse Growers and the Alberta Seed Guide.
The data and descriptions represent varieties currently being tested. Separate descriptions for varieties previously tested, with sufficient data, are also listed as “fully tested varieties.” When pedigreed seed of the older varieties becomes unavailable in Alberta, the variety will be removed.
Variety Testing Procedures
Compilation and coordination of the Regional Variety Test is the responsibility of the Special Crops Program of Alberta Agriculture under the sponsorship of the Special Crops Variety (ad hoc) Committee, with funding support from the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, federal Growing Forward 2 programming and participating seed companies.
Choosing a Pea Variety
The variety of field pea you choose should depend on your market (feed or edible, green, yellow or maple). With more varieties now available, it’s harder to choose the best variety for a particular site and year. The most important criteria of the selection process is YIELD. A number of site-years provides the best data only if these sites represent similar growing conditions. Check data from local zone, industry and regional trials. For test data and other particulars, consult with personnel involved with testing and handling seed.
The following checklist of variety factors should help in variety selection:
- Location: use a combination of growing season precipitation and soil type – data from sites with abnormal precipitation the previous year may be suspect
- Vine length: longer vine varieties (80 cm or longer) usually perform better in drier areas; shorter varieties (70 cm or shorter) do better in areas with higher moisture or with high soil nitrogen levels (shorter varieties, on average, mature earlier and perform better in short season areas)
- Standability: this rating considers vine length, amount of precipitation, wind damage, variety and soil nitrogen levels – all standability ratings are lower in dry years compared to wet years, even for the same variety (if standability is important, choose varieties with ratings of 5.0 or less)
- Maturity: influenced by variety, precipitation, temperature and vine length – higher rainfall and short growing season areas require shorter vine, earlier maturing varieties
- Seed size: influences both seeding rate and seeding cost – in some cases, larger seed varieties produce higher yield, but the cost of seed should be considered in light of any potential yield increase (market type – including seed size, shape and cotyledon colour – is also important)
- Leaf type: most field pea varieties are semi-leafless, while others are normal leaf types –normal leaf types usually perform better in dry areas, while semi-leafless types perform best in higher moisture areas